Salted caramel custard mini pies
for the graham cracker crust
6 sheets graham crackers (about 1 1/2 heaping cups, when lightly crumbled so they’ll fit in a measuring cup)
2 tablespoons old fashioned oats
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons melted butter
for the salted caramel custard
3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fleur de sel or other coarse grain sea salt
1 cup scalded heavy cream
1 cup scalded whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Prepare the graham cracker crusts:
Preheat oven to 350°F
Break up the graham crackers into 1” to 2” chunks and place in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 10 to 15 times, until the crackers are crumbled into black-bean-sized bits (finely ground crumbs will be present – that’s okay.)
Add the oats, cinnamon and salt, and pulse until the mixture is very coarse. Add the butter, and pulse until combined (the mixture will turn slightly darker).
Divide the crust among four 5” pie pans, or 8 to 10 ounce ramekins. Press firmly into the bottom and partially up the sides.
Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, and allow to cool while you make the custard.
Prepare the salted caramel and the custard:
In a medium (3 to 4 quart) heavy bottomed pan, spread out the sugar evenly, and turn heat to medium. Occasionally give the sugar a stir to check for melting (you’ll see clumps of sugar forming). Once the melting begins, stir the sugar regularly to encourage even heating.
While the sugar heats, whisk the egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
Eventually – it could take a bit, but don’t rush it by increasing the heat – the sugar will liquefy. Stir frequently until the sugar begins to darken and becomes aromatic. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and salt. (Turn the heat to medium-low.)
Add the hot cream to the caramel and whisk to combine, then add the hot milk, and place the pot back on the heat.
Whisk about 1/3 cup of the hot caramel into the egg yolks until thoroughly mixed (this tempers the eggs and keeps them from cooking into scrambled eggs). Pour the egg mixture into the pot with the caramel mixture and whisk well. Cook until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon (swipe your finger across the spoon – it should leave a clear trail that doesn’t fill in). Remove the custard from the heat and allow to cool a bit (recommended: pour the custard into another container to speed cooling).
Assemble: Pour the custard into the pie tins/ramekins, dividing the mixture evenly. Gently lay small sheets of plastic wrap on top of the custard (to prevent a skin from forming). Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight). To serve, top with whipped cream.